Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Q&A about the Bing and Shopping Merger

Q) Why are you making this change right now?

A) We specifically chose this time of year to make the change because it represents the greatest
opportunity for our merchant base. The new placements will be available in Bing Shopping by
November 1st. If you want to have the opportunity to be featured in these positions, you need to act
now. Begin a relationship with Shopping.com if you don’t already have one by contacting

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Google Products: Invalid Unique Product Identifiers

We were looing in our merchant dashboard on Google Products and noticed an error for "Invalid Unique Product Identifiers". As you should already know Unique Product Identifiers is probably the most important field in your feed as far as getting your feed processed.

If there is the slightest mistake, error or any kind of issue with the Product Identifier field your feeds wont get processed  So naturally when we saw this we got very concerned.

Bing Updates Product Search

<a href='http://video.msn.com/?mkt=en-us&vid=21464f70-03f4-4cd0-8284-e286f20fc391&src=SLPl:embed::uuids' target='_new' title='Bing Shopping: More Selection, Fewer Steps'>Video: Bing Shopping: More Selection, Fewer Steps</a>

Nextags New Brand Level Bidding

Nextag just rolled the ability to bid on a brand level. There was always the ability to add a bid in your feed. And if you had any decent tool to create your feeds you most likely would be able to increase the bid for a specific brand. But now Nextag has made it much easier for us Marketers who are not so tech savvy.

Surprising though that there was no mention of this on the Nextag Merchant Blog

But if you want a full explanation about this new feature you can find a great post about on CPC Strategy

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Who is Fatbot and why should I care?

Today someone was reviewing our web logs and came across a bot we never saw before. Its name is "Fatbot". We were wondering what this bot is so we did what any person on this planet (maybe besides Bill Gates) would do, we Googled it.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Shopping.com Accelerated Feed Processing

Shopping.com announced Friday afternoon a significant enhancement to their feed processing technology. Feed updates made to price and stock availability will now be reflected on the site within 30 minutes. The email indicated that many retailers were requesting this feature and so they have complied to our wishes.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Google Product Search Email on July 11th

Thank you for participating in Google Product Search.  We are reaching out to you to inform you about important changes we’re making to our Product Search required attributes and Program Policies. All merchants will be affected by these changes.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Important changes to Google Product Search feed specification & policies Reminerd

Google Shopping is reminding everybody about their policy changes.

Starting on September 22, 2011 they will be taking action against accounts with feeds targeting the United States, France, United Kingdom, Japan, and Germany that do not comply with the new specification and policy requirements.

Read More Here

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Monday, June 27, 2011

Amazon Experinaces Technical Issues

Amazon has posted a Technical Notification of an issue they are curently experiancing for product ad merchants

Thursday, June 23, 2011

FTC to issue subpoenas in Google antitrust probe - Google Shopping is included.

By Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A published report says federal regulators are preparing to issue subpoenas to Google and other companies as authorities gather information for a broad antitrust probe into the Internet search leader’s business practices.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Shopping.com System Maintenance Notification

Shopping.com will be conducting maintenance on Monday, June 20 beginning at 10am PST until 4pm PST.

During this maintenance, FTP access will be restricted as will the ability to upload a datafeed into the Merchant Account Center.

Please note that all other functionality of the Merchant Account Center will still be accessible during this time.

Any changes to the datafeed or uploads to the Shopping.com ftp should be completed prior to 10am PST or after 4pm PST on Monday, June 20

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Google Instant Pages

Google today announced at the their annual Google Inside Search Event a new feature called "Instant Pages". It save on average from 3 - 5 seconds on the page load time of the landing page.

Google wants to make the web as quick as switching a channel on your TV and they are really take a step towards this.

What does this mean for CSE? Honestly it doesn't look like it would effect it at all.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Product Specific Advertsing Using Google Adwords API

Merchant Advantage, one of the leading data feed management providers, recently announced their new "KeywordControl" tool. Some of the things they promise it can do are

  • Auto create a Google ad for each of your products.
  • Update and insert current product pricing in each product ad.
  • Automatically stop an ad from showing when inventory is low.
  • Customize ads for each product during a specific promotion.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

No More Checkout Badges on AdWords ads

As of June 2011, the Google Checkout badge has been removed from AdWords ads.

This change impacts badges that appear on Google.com search results. This includes the standard and promotional Checkout badge for both merchants and non-profits.

Badges and filtering on Google Product Search results are not impacted by this change. Learn more about displaying badges on Product Search results.

Google Shopping tax & shipping requirements update

On March 14, Google announced a new set of data requirements for Product Search merchants. As part of these changes, Google communicated that shipping and tax information would be required in your data feeds as of June 6.

However, based on feedback they’ve received from merchants, they are extending the deadline until September 1, allowing you more time to modify your data feeds. They are also permitting estimates for tax/shipping information. However, they recommend reviewing the submission options and submitting the most accurate information that you can, as this ensures the best experience for shoppers.

Here is a summary of what’s changing:

For Feeds Targeting the United States, United Kingdom, France and Germany: The June 6 deadline for providing shipping information has been extended to September 1.

For Feeds Targeting the United States: The June 6 deadline for providing tax information has been extended to September 1.

Read the blog post

Friday, May 27, 2011

Become.com to increase rates

Yes that's true, Become.com has announced that they will also increase their rates. Im still waiting to hear from Google Shopping that they will start charging per click, but that might never happen.

Here is the official announcement.

Dear Valued Partner,

In order to continue fulfilling our mission to deliver qualified customers to businesses, Become.com is making a change to our current rate card minimums. This change will go into effect on June 15th, 2011.

What will change?

Most category minimum rates are changing which will affect most of your listings with Become.com. We ask that you review our updated rate card.

What actions should I take?

Merchants are not required to take any actions. This change will automatically go into effect on June 15th, 2011. However, if you are currently leveraging our dynamic bidding platform to optimize the placement of your listings, please review these bids to ensure that you are still taking advantage of our FREE logo with five cent bid program (when bidding five cents above rate card minimums, your listings will receive FREE logo placement).
We value our partnership and look forward to continuing to drive high quality traffic to you. Should you have any questions, please contact your Account Manager or merchanthelp@become.com.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Google Buys Sparkbuy Laptop Comparison Engine

Google has purchased Sparkbuy Laptop Comparison Engine. Read it on searchengineland.com

Sparkbuy official announcement
We are pleased as punch to announce that Sparkbuy has been acquired by Google.
I know, right? We can hardly believe it ourselves.
When we built Sparkbuy way back in the waning days of 2010, we wanted to make it really easy to find the gadget that’s perfect for your needs. Our idea was that you could combine huge piles of structured data with an intuitive interface, et voila: a few clicks to find the electronics widget with exactly the features you want. Have you tried to find a great laptop or TV recently? Crazy hard.
But when people started actually using Sparkbuy, we started to see that the opportunity was bigger. In fact, it was much, much bigger. There are so many "crazy hard" search problems out there we know it could take ages for us to deliver what our customers are asking for. So when Google showed up and suggested we could work together to turbocharge our efforts, we just couldn't pass it up.
We’re stoked about the opportunity to share our vision for search with a broader audience. And while we won't be offering services at sparkbuy.com any more, stay tuned for truckloads of new awesome from our team at Google.

Thanks for coming by!

Sparkbuy Inc.

New Microsoft Advertising Small Business site

Small businesses face unique challenges in the online advertising world. That’s why we’ve created a new site exclusively for you. We’re sharing industry and Microsoft Advertising adCenter knowledge for small businesses in one easily accessible place so you don’t have to face those challenges alone.

Visit the site now to view these and other valuable resources:
  • New articles lay out the "Getting Started" process in three easy steps.
  • Free training videos offer adCenter navigation and strategy advice.
  • Blog posts provide information tailored to the small business advertiser.
  • Small business case studies present ideas for successful advertising strategies.
  • Industry-specific tips give insights to help improve your campaigns.
  • Support Center pages deliver focused guidance for search marketing with adCenter.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Amazon Product Ad Rate Increase

Amazon has joined the band wagon and will be raising their Product Ad rates.

Minimum Bids in 36 categories are changing.

On June 1, 2011 Amazon will be adjusting the minimum bid in 36 bidding categories. The minimum bid will decrease in 4 categories and increase in 32 categories. There will be no change to the minimum bid amount in the remaining 117 categories.

Want to see the new rate card click here -> Amazon Product Ads New Rate Card

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Amazon Sends out Emails by Mistake

Amazon sent out Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) emails to some of their Product Ads accounts.

Amazon announced

"Yesterday, we experienced a technical issue that resulted in two Fulfillment by Amazon-related emails containing the subject lines 'Welcome to FBA' and 'Fulfillment by Amazon Long-Term Storage Program' being sent to some sellers. If you are not an FBA seller and received these emails, then please disregard them. If you are an FBA seller, only the email with the subject line 'Fulfillment by Amazon Long-Term Storage Program' should have been sent. If you have any further questions about the FBA Long Term Storage program, please click here for FAQ’s. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused. (05/18 - 09:20)"

Its funny because this morning I opened my inbox and got scared someone tapped into my account. I was thinking "I never signed up for an FBA account". Well know you have it it was a mistake.

Here are the emails
Welcome to FBA.pdf

Fulfillment by Amazon Long-Term Storage Program.pdf

Nextag Rate increase

Nextag announced a minimum CPC rate increase today. The new rates will be effective as of June 1, 2011. Here is the new rate card

Current Category Current CPC New CPC
Cribs $0.40 $0.50
Clothing & Accessories/Accessories $0.30 $0.35
Children $0.30 $0.35
Handbags & Wallets $0.30 $0.35
Watches $0.65 $0.75
Kid's Shoes $0.35 $0.40
Women's Shoes $0.40 $0.42
Bed & Bath $0.35 $0.37
Indoor & Outdoor Lighting $0.40 $0.45
Sofas $0.40 $0.45
Home Improvement $0.40 $0.50
Bathroom Fixtures $0.40 $0.50
Lawn & Garden $0.40 $0.42
Small Appliances $0.65 $0.75
Major Appliances $0.40 $0.42
Food & Wine $0.25 $0.30
Prescription Drugs $0.50 $0.60
Sports & Outdoors $0.35 $0.37

In response to many requests, Nextag will also be adding the following new categories:

Current Category Current CPC New Category New CPC
Clothing & Accessories $0.30 Activewear $0.35
Clothing & Accessories $0.30 Luggage $0.35
Office/ Office Stationary $0.55 Office Stationary $0.40

Nextag also periodically updates product category classifications. As a result, there will be some CPC changes associated with these classification updates. The following sub-categories are currently being listed in

Current Category Classification Current CPC New Category Classification New CPC
Office/Paper Rolls $0.55 Computer Accessories/Paper Supplies $0.65
Office/Printwheels $0.55 Computer Accessories/Printer Accessories $0.65
Office/Ribbons $0.55 Ink Toner and Cartridges $1.05
Office/Copier Toner $0.55 Ink Toner and Cartridges $1.05
Office/Fax Supplies $0.55 Ink Toner and Cartridges $1.05
Office/Microfiche $0.55 Office Equipment/Equipment Supplies $0.75
Office/Laminators $0.55 Office Equipment/Laminators $0.75
Office/Computers Accessories
&Supplies/Cleaning Products
$0.55 Office Equipment/Equipment Supplies $0.75
Office Equipment Supplies/Others $0.55 Office Equipment/Equipment Supplies $0.75

The following sub-categories are currently being listed in Office Products or Office Equipment but will now be listed under a new category in which the CPC is lower:

Current Category Classification Current CPC New Category Classification New CPC
Office/Bookcases $0.55 Furniture/Bookcases $0.40
Office/Picture Frames $0.55 Furniture/Home Decorating $0.40
Office/Clothes/Coat $0.55 Home Improvement/Organization & Storage $0.50
Office/Plumbing $0.55 Home Improvement/Plumbing Supplies $0.50
Office/Electrical $0.55 Home Improvement/Electrical $0.50
Office/Flashlights $0.55 Home Improvement/Electrical $0.50
Office/Light Bulbs $0.55 Home Improvement/Electrical $0.50
Office/Safety & Security $0.55 Home Improvement/Security $0.50
Office/Thermostats $0.55 Home Improvement/Others $0.50
Office/Waste Containers $0.55 Home Improvement/Organization & Storage $0.50
Office/Paints $0.55 Home Improvement/Wall Coverings $0.50
Office/Lamps $0.55 Indoor & Outdoor Lighting $0.45
Office/Gloves $0.55 Tools $0.40
Office/Ladders $0.55 Tools $0.40
Office/Tools $0.55 Tools $0.40

The following sub-categories are listed in Office Products but will now be listed under another category name. The CPC will remain the same:

Current Category Classification Current CPC New Category Classification New CPC
Office/Office Maintenance $0.55 Office Products/Janitorial & Lunchroom/Maintenance Supplies $0.55
Office Equipment/Fans $0.75 Small Appliances/Fans $0.75
Multimedia Projectors $1.05 Electronics/MultimediaProjectors $1.05

You do not need to do anything in connection with the CPC changes - any bids below these new minimum cost per click rates will be automatically adjusted on June 1; any bids already equal to or greater than these

Nextag is rated #2 as a revenue generator according to CPC Strategy Q4 2010 Ratings